Imperfect Foods plans for net-zero carbon emissions by 2030

25 Mar 2021

Online grocer Imperfect Foods announced that by 2030, it will be a net-zero carbon company that has saved 1 billion pounds of food from waste. Successfully meeting this goal would put Imperfect Foods 10 years ahead of other major retailers striving for net-zero carbon emissions and 20 years before the Paris Climate Agreement deadline to achieve this designation, according to the company.

To achieve this lofty goal, the grocer said it would convert its fulfillment centers to 100% renewable power by 2026, fully electrify its vehicle fleet by 2027, certify six of its facilities as zero-waste-to-landfill by 2025 and convert its delivery boxes from recyclable cardboard to reusable containers.

Imperfect Foods plans for net-zero carbon emissions by 2030
Courtesy of Imperfect Foods

Already, the company has converted its largest fulfillment facility in Los Angeles to solar power and it is working to transition 15% of its sourcing to more regional growers in order to reduce the number of trucks moving its products through its supply chain.

To combat the environmental impacts of its own success and demonstrate the ethos of sustainability which it professes, the company said in the release that it is its duty to lead the industry as “the grocery industry's effects on climate change are undeniable.”

Imperfect Foods was founded on principles of sustainability, which led to its business model initially focusing on gathering and reselling produce that did not meet the beauty standards required by retailers for sale on shelves. However, since its inception, the company has moved from a regional grocer to a national e-commerce retailer and has consequently expanded the geography of the growers with which it partners to keep pace with the triple-digit growth it saw between 2019 and 2020.

Nevertheless, Imperfect Foods’ emission of carbon dioxide per $1 of revenue has decreased since 2019. Despite this achievement, the company's growth has led to an increase in its overall carbon footprint within the same time frame, the company reported in its 2020 Impact Report. Part of the reduction in CO2 emissions per dollar of revenue is due to the 7,921 tons of post-consumer recycled packaging 52 million pounds of imperfect food that the company saved from landfills last year.

To continue to track its progress toward net-zero carbon emissions, Imperfect Foods teamed up with Watershed, which is a software platform that allows a business to track its carbon footprint across every touchpoint in its supply chain. Should Imperfect Foods need to redesign a part of its operations to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, the company just received a $110 million investment this past February. But at the time that it received this influx of funding, Imperfect Foods said it intended to spend these funds to increase its private label program, bolster its production capacity, improve its online shopping experience and support farmers and suppliers.

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